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23 November 2011, 14:16
A religious teacher who was caught on a secret camera kicking and slapping children at a West Yorkshire mosque has been jailed for 10 weeks.
Sabir Hussain, 60, admitted four charges of assaulting boys at the Markazi Jamia Mosque, in Keighley, West Yorkshire, as they learned The Koran.
Hussain, of Spencer Street, Keighley, appeared at Bradford Magistrates' Court in traditional clothing and was led out of court in handcuffs after the sentence was passed. He immediately lodged an appeal against his sentence but an application for bail was rejected.
District Judge Sue Bouch said she had heard how the boys involved were aged between 10 and 13. Police have not yet been able to identify all of the children. Ms Bouch said she had read a large number of character references about Hussain with some referring to him as ``firm but fair'' and a ``pillar of the community''.
She told him: ``It can be clearly seen on the footage that the children are flinching away from you. That suggests clearly to me, Mr Hussain, that the children were fearful. The assaults comprised of kicking to the body and hitting whilst those children remained sitting on the floor. You were in a position of responsibility. This is a gross breach of trust.''
Earlier, Shufgat Khan, defending, said his client was working as a volunteer teacher at the time of the incidents. The barrister said Mr Hussain had an unblemished reputation until these incidents.
In a joint statement, Chief Superintendent Ian Kennedy and Kath Tunstall, of Bradford Council's Children's Services Department, said: ``It is important that our children are safe and free from harm, particularly so in educational establishments, and it does not matter whether that is a local authority school or classes held at a religious establishment. Their safety is a top priority for us and our partner agencies.''